Inspiration Can Wear Many Forms

Heart of the Tide

Photo and art ©2017 Shanti Singleton

Inspiration can take many forms. A turn of phrase, the light just so making us see something familiar in a new way, a smell that triggers an old memory or perhaps a sound that you’ve never heard before and want to mimic. Many of my best songs are inspired by my muses, though not necessarily about them. 

With my Goblin King much of the time it’s the worlds we spin and weave together, forming something tangible out of the essence of dreams. 

With many of my other muses I was trying to reach out in some way, to comfort, to connect, and sometimes the song would slip sideways in my grasp and go somewhere completely unexpected that had nothing to do with what I thought I wanted to write. 

My latest muse has me spiraling around, walking a Labyrinth as all my songs lately turn in on themselves and go elsewhere, and I realize I’m fishing in deeper waters than I ever expected. There are things that were too ragged and raw as they happened throughout my life for me to even wrap in a fairy tale. I couldn’t make them beautiful, I didn’t have the voice for strong and angry, and so all the raw material has just been sitting there, dark and heavy, weighing me down. 

Suddenly I’m baiting my hook with a little bit of my current inspiration and catching threads of old stories and weaving them all together, making something beautiful out of something that I thought would never add joy to my life. 

Being able to transform that dead weight into soaring lyrics and melody and sometimes surprising humor leaves me feeling so much cleaner and lighter. And getting it out of the way leaves room for random inspiration to wake me up at 4am or to just see something and need to write about it. 

To my Goblin King, my Wolf, Dragon and Raven, my Knight and Monk, my three favorite Pixies, my Fire, my 13th Doctor and my Peter Pan, and the muses I don’t have a nickname for yet. You probably know who you are. 

Your songs are the ones everyone else love best. I couldn’t have gotten here without you. Any of you. 

Thank you. Thank you for being exactly who you were and are and will be. Thank you for the conversations and stories and love and heartbreak. Thank you for sharing your compassion and your loneliness. Thank you for sharing the places that needed to be filled or wrapped up with a song or a story, and for finding it in you to appreciate what I came up with. 

I look forward to seeing who I’ll meet down the road, what songs and stories will take shape, and all the new flavors I’ll get to learn to make. 

If you’re an artist, my best advice is to seize life in both hands and live it. The good and the bad. Avoiding the bumpy and hard times is like removing half the colors from your palate. You can still make a pretty picture but it’s missing something vital. You don’t have to be defined by what those experiences leave behind. Instead use it as shading to define your art. Use what you need and discard the rest into the scrap bin. 

(Not that I advocate seeking out that which will harm you, just don’t be afraid to live vibrantly and well.)

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